An Interview With Erik Swenson

An Interview With Erik Swenson

Submitted by Brandon Brown on December 9th, 2013 at 10:42 AM

Erik Swenson 2

Coach Hoke and his staff have made a habit out of filling recruiting classes up rather early with little to no defection. That trend has already started again in the 2016(!) class with the very early commitment of OL Erik Swenson. Swenson is just a sophomore but already stands at 6’7” and tips the scales at right around 300 lbs. His size, athleticism, and rather solid technique for a young player has earned him some big-time offers from the likes of in-state programs, Illinois and Northwestern, along with Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Virginia Tech. As soon as Michigan offered him he wasn’t shy about naming the Wolverines his leader and it was only a matter of time before he made it as official as he can for now.

As a sophomore what kind of a player is Erik Swenson right now? What are some of your strengths and weaknesses?

I’ve already gotten a lot faster and stronger off the ball. I still want to develop my punch so I can really deliver a blow to somebody. My pass blocking is probably my biggest strength right now and I wouldn’t say I really have a weakness just some things to perfect.

When you arrive in Ann Arbor in a couple of years what kind of player do you want to be then? How would you like to be different from now?

I just need to be bigger, stronger, and faster. The rest of it will come with training and coaching.

I know you’ve been to Ann Arbor quite a few times. How many visits have you made and why do you like going there so much?

I’ve been there six times and they get better and better each time. The people, city itself, the coaches, the facilities, the restaurants. I just love it up there.

Liking it so much did you ever even think about anywhere else?

Northwestern was a little hard to say no to, but not that hard compared to Michigan. (Laughs)

You mentioned the coaches, tell me about your relationship with them.

They’re wonderful! Their wives act like they’ve known you for 20 years already. You can just tell that they all really care about you. The entire family feel is not forced at all. It’s very genuine.

So when did you definitely know that Michigan was going to be the place for you?

Right after the Notre Dame game. I wanted to wait until my season was over to announce it but I knew it after that game. I just knew I didn’t want to go anywhere else and no other college could compare to Michigan.

Tell me about how your commitment actually happened.

I called Coach Funk on Sunday night (11/24) telling him that I wanted to verbally commit and then on Saturday at the game I was able to shake all of the coaches hands and they just smiled and said welcome to the family.

The commits for Michigan are notorious for being close before they even arrive on campus. Has that started for you yet?

Yeah a little. Ian Bunting is probably #1 as far as who I’m closest with right now. All of the guys are friendly though. It was easy to see during my last visit.

I know there are only a few 2016 with offers from Michigan right now but are you eyeing anybody to recruit?

Not really yet. I tweeted at Issac Nauta soon after I committed. I’m definitely eyeing him for sure!

The number 77. What’s that mean to you and especially to you at Michigan?

Yeah man, I talked to Coach Hoke about that already. I just asked how do you get #77 and he said that he picks if you are worthy enough to wear it. That was pretty much it, but I know it’s a big deal.

Legends numbers, The Big House, the history. Tradition is obviously a big deal at Michigan. What does it mean to you to be a Michigan Man?

I think it is a great honor to be considered a Michigan Man. I can not wait to play on that field.

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Erik Swenson is another great ambassador for the Wolverine football program. He was very polite and well spoken and his passion for Michigan is very clear and he will wear the uniform as proudly as anyone. He has a chance to be one of the highest rated offensive linemen in the midwest so nabbing him this early is a pretty big deal. He already has near prototypical size for a left tackle and he still has two more years of high school ball to hone his skills and grow. He could be an absolute monster by the time he gets to Ann Arbor. The number 77 has to be earned and after talking with him I think Swenson will earn it.

BBrown: Michigan Offers Tanner Muse

BBrown: Michigan Offers Tanner Muse

Submitted by Brandon Brown on October 17th, 2013 at 9:02 AM

Tanner Muse

Position: Outside Linebacker
Ht/Wt: 6'4"/205 lbs.
Location: South Point High School - Belmont, NC
Class: 2015
Offers: Clemson, Duke, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Michigan, Ole Miss, North Carolina, Northwestern, NC State, Virginia

With numbers expected to be historically low for the 2015 class offers are pretty hard to come by, so when one went out to LB Tanner Muse on Friday it made some noise and meant a lot to him.

Coach Manning and I were messaging each other over Twitter and he asked me when a good time to call would be. Once I finished my football meeting with my high school team I called him and we talked for a little bit and he just offered me. I felt very blessed to know a school like Michigan would offer me! It’s really exciting when a prestigious school like that offers you.

Michigan throws their hat in the ring with Clemson, NC State, North Carolina, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Northwestern, and Virginia for Muse’s services. A list like that makes for tough competition for a North Carolina native. Clemson is currently considered his leader and he “somewhat” verified that, but he also spoke highly of the Wolverines.

Clemson is somewhat my leader. It just depends on how all these visits I’m going to take end up going. Michigan ranks pretty high for me, but I still will have to visit there and get to know the rest of the coaching staff.

As of right now linebackers coach Roy Manning is the only contact Muse has with the Michigan program, but the young coach seems to have made a solid impression on Tanner.

My relationship with Coach Manning is really good. It seems like we get along and he’s kind of like me actually. He’s more laid back and straight forward.

At 6’4” and 205 lbs. Muse was told by Coach Manning that he’s been offered as an outside linebacker, which probably means the SAM position in Coach Mattison’s defensive scheme. Muse is built and runs like a safety. On film his speed is very noticeable and he told me about his self-diagnosed strengths on the field.

I train and practice all the time on my speed. My hand-timed best 40 is a 4.32 and my most recent laser-timed 40 was a 4.37. I bring that speed and my physicality to the field and when I get to the ball carrier I try to make my presence known.

As a high school junior Muse can take his time with his recruitment, but he has a vague plan in place for how he’d like it to play out.

I want to visit all of the schools that have offered me. With Michigan I’m going to try to go to either the Nebraska game or the Ohio State game. I discussed it with Coach Manning and since those games are a couple weeks away still, I can get a flight. I’d like to commit by my senior season but I also definitely want to take my officials late. I’m not really sure when I will make a top list either.

I love Muse on film. He’s long, fast, athletic, rangy, and looks to thrive on contact. He’s almost identical in build to Chase Winovich from the 2014 class, but may actually have more straight-line speed, which is scary because Winovich can fly.

With Clemson playing as well as they are and Michigan stocking up on linebackers with a lot of similarish guys, I feel as if landing Muse will be an uphill climb. That being said, Michigan may actually be in 2nd place right now behind the Tigers and a visit to Ann Arbor could go a long way with Muse as he’s already visited Clemson.

An Interview With Kalen Ballage

An Interview With Kalen Ballage

Submitted by Brandon Brown on August 16th, 2013 at 10:50 PM

Kalen Ballage 2

It’s been assumed for a while that Michigan would not take a running back in the 2014 class but after talking with ATH/RB Kalen Ballage I’ve learned that the coaches may still be in the market for a ball carrier. Ballage is a bit of a wildcard being a multi-purpose Colorado kid, but his measurables and physical attributes are on an elite level. He was a very unique young man to speak to and he had some good things to say about Michigan as well as another program in the mitten.

Being a Colorado kid, pretty far from Michigan and the midwest, we don’t necessarily hear a ton about you, so what have you been up to this summer, football or non-football related?

A lot of both really. I believe that you can’t be wrapped up in a sport for too long, I think that hurts you as an athlete. I never understood when guys play basketball year-round or anything like that. Do something different, I think it helps you as an athlete. I’ve been just hanging out with friends, going swimming, you know bonding with my teammates outside of football but it also helps with football. We’ve spent time doing workouts and getting it in on the field as well.

I know a little bit about you, as much as is posted on the recruiting sites. Tell me your most recent and accurate height, weight, and speed because what’s listed is pretty impressive.

Right now I’m 6’2”, 225 and I run a 4.37, and yes that is laser-timed. I haven’t ran it since I got that time and that was last summer. I haven’t really ran a 40 since and I think I’m a lot stronger since then and I believe faster as well, with putting on 10-15 pounds. I’ve just tried to better myself as an athlete.

You’ve mentioned the word “athlete” a couple of times now and most sites list you as such, but Michigan is looking at you purely as a running back correct?

Yes sir, actually most teams are now. A couple of schools have offered me at linebacker, but the more and more they see my film they start to see me as a running back even though I’m capable of playing an outside linebacker position. Running back is the place that I’d like to be personally, and some schools that have offered me at linebacker have switched to linebacker, and those who haven’t still do see me as a linebacker.

You talked about the different positions you can play, what do you think you bring to the field as a player, either at running back or linebacker? In other words what do you think you do well on the field?

One thing I definitely bring is a winners mentality. If a coach tells me to do something, I just do it. I don’t have a problem doing it if it’s about the team. That’s what I’ve always been about, that’s just what I’ve been taught, my parents have raised me well. Whatever I can do to help the team, that’s what I want to do. If you want to stick me at corner or safety, I actually have an offer at strong safety, Vanderbilt wants me to play there. If you wanted to put me at O-line or D-line, that has never happened (laughs) but I’d do it to the best of my ability if the coach needed me to.

That pretty much leads me into my next question and you sort of answered it already, but headed into your senior year what do you think you bring to the team or the field as a teammate or as a coachable person?

Yeah, the thing about me is that I didn’t become a leader just this year. I’ve been a leader since I stepped onto the field on varsity as a freshman. I’ve just always been that guy, you know? No matter how young or old I am I’ve tried to be a leader and leadership-wise I don’t think much will change just because I’m a senior.

Most schools around the country have started practicing in some capacity so what has your high school team done so far?

Yes sir, we started actually on Monday and we’re easing into it like every other team I’m sure. First we had to go helmets, then helmets and shoulder pads, then full pads without much hitting, and then we actually got to bang a little bit today. That was definitely fun, first hitting of the season is always hype. We’ve got music playing and doing Oklahoma’s and stuff so that was a lot of fun. Our first game is on August 30th, so we’re getting there.

How has your recruitment been going this summer? Run down your offers a little bit and just tell me in general how it’s gone.

To be honest I can’t name all of them. I know some of my main guys right now are Michigan, Michigan State, Boise, Nebraska, Washington and ASU. You know those schools are up there. I also have offers from Arizona, Colorado, Colorado State, Georgia Tech…man, I can’t remember all of them and I know that’s probably bad, but.

Not putting words in your mouth but would those “main guys” you named make up your top group at this point?

Definitely. Those are the schools that I’ve found out more about and I’ve been in contact with them. I just know a little bit more about them and what they have to offer me.

I can’t remember where I saw it, maybe Twitter or something, but you are planning on taking an official visit to Michigan now correct?

I believe so, I believe so. I actually don’t have a Twitter so a lot of people do twist my words up. It’s definitely a school that I’m considering taking an official visit to more than some others so, yeah.

Who are some of the others that you are juggling around with Michigan right now for your officials?

Michigan State, Boise, Nebraska, and ASU or Washington, still kind of looking for a 5th there, but still not even completely closed to any school to be honest.

I’m curious, as a Colorado kid, why so much interest in the Michigan schools?

Their ability to produce big running backs. Michigan State the past couple of years, more than Michigan (he said it with a “with an all due respect” tone), I mean I’m a big running back and people think that if you’re big you just shouldn’t be in this position, but I like to prove people otherwise. That’s not me being cocky that’s just me feeling that I can do anything I set my mind to. Michigan State produced Le’Veon Bell and now he’s in the NFL playing with the Steelers. You know if you don’t have the desire, or don’t want to play in the NFL, I don’t think you should be playing college football. Guys want to get to the league, you know, that’s been their dream ever since they were little. I think that’s going to be a factor in deciding what school you want to go to.

You mentioned that you did a little more research and found out more about Michigan. What do you know now and what did you find out?

Oh man all of the attributes they have! I still have not taken a visit there, but I speak with the coaches as often as I can. You know The Big House, the facilities, they just have so many things to offer a football player beyond football and academics to take care of you as an athlete.

When you think about the other schools you mentioned earlier what are some other factors that are going to help determine where you’ll play in college?

Like I said Michigan State and their ability to produce big backs and be a team in the Big Ten that runs the football a lot. If I go to a school I don’t want to sit back and watch the ball get slung around, you know like Texas Tech or something. I’d like to tote the rock a little bit and that’s what I like most about them. For Boise State, a lot of people ask me, “Why Boise State?” It’s just their ability to win. They’ve been winners, they have the best win percentage in college football for like, the last 10 years. You definitely want to be on a winning football team. Nobody wants to be on a team where there’s nothing there for them. Also their ability to put people in the NFL. These last couple of years you know, Doug Martin, DJ Harper, they have some DB’s and wide receivers in there. And you know, Boise was my first offer and that holds some kind of sentimental value because when nobody else looked at me, and no one else thought I was anything, they did and they offered me. They’re kind of the reason I have these other big offers from Michigan and the other big schools, they kind of blew me up. That first offer is just special.

So you’re about to start your senior year, you seem to have a top 5 or 6 and some officials in mind, when would you like to make a decision and end the process?

To be honest, ideally, I’d like to make my final decision soon after my football season. I’m one to focus on what I’m doing and I don’t want any distractions out side of football even though it’s more football, I just want to focus on the season at hand and then focus on my commitment. It’s my last high school football season ever and I learned from the seniors on my team last year that your senior season is one of your most special seasons of your football career. No matter if you’re still in high school, college, or even playing in the NFL, no one ever forgets their high school senior year.

I’ve been impressed with your answers and you seem to be a pretty deep thinker, so I’m curious as to how you see your own decision going. What will Kalen Ballage’s commitment look like?

I actually spoke with Tom Lemming and I might end up making my decision on his show so I can talk about why I made that decision over others. That’s more like a 10 minute thing, you know at the Army game I won’t be able to really announce why I went to this school, you kind of just pick up your hat and they move on from it. I’d really like to explain why I make the choice that I make.


Ballage is yet another well-spoken, intelligent young man who seems to be taking his recruitment very seriously so he can make the best decision for himself. The Michigan coaches seem to value these types of attributes more and more with each kid that I speak to. It will be interesting to see if Ballage does schedule an official visit to Michigan or not given the fact that most people believe there will be no running back taken in the 2014 class. Personally I’m all for 6’2”, 225 lb. athletes that clock laser-timed 4.37 forty’s, but that’s just me.

An Interview With Montae Nicholson

An Interview With Montae Nicholson

Submitted by Brandon Brown on August 9th, 2013 at 11:23 AM

montae nicholson

Michigan’s 2014 class only has about 3 or 4 spots remaining and one of them figures to go to a member of the secondary. There are still several uncommitted defensive back prospects on Michigan’s board, but only a few of them look like realistic options at this point. Perhaps the most realistic option is S Montae Nicholson. Nicholson is a consensus 4-star prospect out of Pennsylvania and he recently cut his list of schools down to 12, a list that includes the Wolverines. I talked with Nicholson and he may have been the most impressive young man I’ve spoken with to date. 

What has your summer been like? Have you participated in many camps?

Not a lot. I was at the Rivals 100 and The Opening. I obviously went to the camps to get to both of those camps. I went to the Columbus NFTC and I went to the Rivals camp while they were on tour over here.

Speaking of the two main attraction camps, the Rivals 100 and The Opening, how do you feel like you performed among some of the best prospects in the country?

Honestly the Rivals 100 wasn’t my best camp. I mean I did alright but it was definitely  not my best showing. At The Opening I definitely feel like I performed well for as many times as I got the ball. I had a couple of interceptions and a few touchdowns. I think what really set the tone for those camps was just how I was feeling and the amount of fun I was having. Honestly I didn’t know the guys out at the Rivals camp, but a lot of those same guys were at The Opening and when I started talking to them more and having a little more fun, I think that really elevated my play.

Cool, that actually leads me into my next question, you seem like a pretty quiet kid. Obviously you are highly ranked and coveted by a lot of schools, but you seem to stay out of the spotlight. Is that part of your personality and by design?

It is both actually. I’m not really on social media, I don’t like it much. I’m not really that kind of guy that’s just out there all the time. I have a few friends, I don’t really go everywhere, I don’t need to do all of that, I just stay to myself.

A lot less stress that way huh?

Oh yeah, definitely.

Well I know you’ve been busy with a few camps and you told me earlier that you’ve been working this summer too, what’s that all about, what do you do for work?

I teach little kids how to fence. (Laughs)

Really?!

Yes. It’s a little summer camp thing. They would be there all day and I would just come for my sessions and I would teach them how to fence. They would have little tournaments. It was a program called Summer Dreamers. You know how they preach, like, kids lose a lot over the summer? I was part of a program where the kids would do some work and whatever they did work-wise, they got to choose whatever they wanted to do as a reward. There was fencing, there was a group called Club Adventure, Imagination Exploration. So I was part of the fencing group and the kids would fence each other and then at the end we chose two to fence in front of the whole camp and they went at it! (Laughs) It was fun, some of the kids really loved it.

That is really unique and interesting, I did not know that about you.

Thank you.

Well with your football camps and teaching fencing to kids, how has your recruitment been going this summer? Any time for it?

It’s going pretty smoothly.  There’s nothing really big happening, just pretty much taking things as they come. I haven’t really been anywhere because of my busy schedule, so recruiting-wise it’s been a really easy summer.

We talked about this a little before but discuss your top group again.

Yeah I recently cut my list down to 12. There’s Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, Florida State, West Virginia, Penn State, Pitt, Temple, Oregon, Stanford, Miami, Michigan, and Michigan State.

I’m not trying to get you to rank those or anything but out of those 12 who do you think you hear from the most, or do you have the most contact with?

Well I’m in contact with all of the schools constantly over Facebook, but mail-wise would be Penn State, Pitt, West Virginia, Florida State, and Michigan, and The U, they probably send me the most mail. I mean the other schools all send me mail too on a day-to-day basis, but the other schools I just named, they send me like piles and piles of mail. (Laughs)

Yeah, I’ve seen pictures on Twitter and stuff that recruits post showing off the heaps of mail from schools, it’s pretty crazy.

(Laughs) Yeah, like I said I’m not really that guy to do all of that, but if I did it would probably cover the floor of my game room and it’s a pretty large room.

Well being a Pennsylvania kid, you mentioned Pitt and Penn State in that persistent group, is there any pressure to choose one of those in-state schools?

I mean there is pressure, but not from anybody close to me. Not from my mom, my teammates, my coach. But you know, like the public there is kind of that pressure to stay home, and “be the hometown hero” and stuff like that. It doesn’t really affect me or anything, but it’s there.  At the end of the day I’m going to choose the best fit for me.

Let me shift over to Michigan a little bit. You listed them in your top 12, they contact you a lot via mail. What do you like about Michigan, how much do you like them?

Oh, very much actually. You know they were one of my earlier offers and that’s one of the reasons they are in that top 12, it just shows me how much I mean to them and how much they want me to come play for them. I really do appreciate that, it just shows me that if I was to go there it wouldn’t be just because everybody else wants me, it shows me that they were interested in me early, which proves that I would mean something to them.

I know you’ve been to Michigan, but how many times and for what events?

Yeah, I’ve been there 3 times actually. I was there for the BBQ, for the game against Michigan State, and for camp.

Is another visit this fall for an official something you’ve thought about?

Hopefully. I’m not really sure right now, I have to look at my schedule and their schedule to see how things matchup.

So you’ve got your top 12, are you planning on cutting that down again anytime soon and will that next group be the schools you take official visits to?

Yeah, hopefully I can get it cut down before my officials, but that is going to be a very difficult task. I’d probably like to get my list down to 5 or 6 with those officials in mind. I don’t really know when that might happen, I have to sit down with my mom and talk about it and then go from there.

Once that part of the process happens, and you’ve got your top 5-6, you’ve got some officials lined up or possibly taken, when does a decision come for you? Obviously you can take until February if you want to, but how do you plan on handling that as you think about it right now?

I mean probably towards the end of my season if not after. It really all depends on how our season goes.

When I look at your top group, you have a pretty wide range of schools when it comes to style of play, distance from home, you have some very high-level academic schools in there. What is going to make School A better than School B once you start thinking about a commitment?

Well when I cut it down to 12 it was pretty much the schools that I kept in contact with the most. There were other schools in there that offered me early that just really didn’t talk to me too much anymore, and there was no point in keeping those schools in there just to say I have so many offers.  That doesn’t really matter to me, I just wanted to cut it down and figure out what I really need. As far as how I’m going to cut it down after 12…ugh, it’s going to be really, really difficult. It’s just got to be the best fit for me. It could really come down to something very simple because all of these schools are great schools and they’ve all been in contact so much that it really could just come down to something very simple.


Montae finished our conversation by congratulating me on my engagement, as we had been trying to get this interview lined up for a few days but our schedules weren’t cooperating. He was mature beyond his years, well-spoken, very level-headed, and seemed to understand the opportunity he has earned. He talked about how difficult it was going to be to choose just one school and I felt that indecision in his answers.

He is taking his time, weighing his options, and figuring out what the best situation is for himself. I believe Michigan will make his next cut since as the Wolverines they showed early interest, which Montae seems to value a lot. 

An Interview With Da’Shawn Hand

An Interview With Da’Shawn Hand

Submitted by Brandon Brown on August 1st, 2013 at 6:35 PM

Da'Shawn Hand 2

For being arguably the top prospect in the country from the 2014 class, Da’Shawn Hand isn’t talked about a whole lot, and that’s exactly how he wants it.  As Hand prepares for his senior season at Woodbridge Senior High School in Virginia, he has managed to lay low this summer despite being one of the most coveted prospects in the nation.  I was lucky enough to catch up with Da’Shawn to ask him about his summer, visit plans, and timetable among other things.

So how has your summer been going? What camps have you attended and how do you think you performed at those camps?

I went to two camps this summer, I went to The Opening and the Rivals 5-Star Challenge in Chicago.  I think I did pretty well man, it was a lot of fun.  I went for the gear, for the experience, and just to meet a lot of people and make some good connections for a lifetime.

I read somewhere that you didn’t even lose a rep for a few days at the Rivals challenge?

Yeah, I didn’t!  That was at the Rivals camp and I was ballin! (Laughs)  When I went to The Opening, at first it was really cool, but I got a little camped-out and by the end of it I was definitely ready to just focus on my season.

With football being such a huge part of your life year-round, how has your summer been as far as non-related football activities goes?

It’s been good man, just been chillin’ with family, seeing my family, hanging out with my friends, and just traveling.  Oh, and I’ve been…even though it has to do with football a little bit, I’ve been helping out and coaching kids in little kid camps.

When do you start practice for your senior year and what have you done to prepare yourself for a senior season that is going to be very closely watched by a lot of people?

We start practicing August 1st.  You know it’s always possible to get better.  I’ve been training like a dog.  I’ve been doing cross-fit training, I’ve been doing yoga.  I do a lot of running in a gas-mask, I’ve just been doing a lot of things to improve in as many areas as I can. 

I talked with your coach about how you decided to lay low a little bit with the recruiting aspect and just focus on getting ready for your season. How come?

Yeah, and honestly I think that was the smartest decision I’ve made with my recruitment.  I just wanted to lay low.  I haven’t really talked to any coaches or anything, maybe once in a while I’ll call them but I have really been focusing on myself and just working.

With all the work you’ve put in what are your goals for your last year in high school, team-wise and individually?

Well of course team-wise I just want to get to the state championship and win it, I want a ring.  I want to go out on top.  My individual goals are, I want have over 100 tackles, 40 or more tackles for loss and 30 sacks. 

Pretty lofty, you think you can get there?

Of course.

You mentioned your recruitment a little bit but that you did take it off this summer, but how has that been going? Same top 3? Other coaches still hounding you? Just give me an insight as to how it goes for you.

Yeah my top 3 is still the same, Alabama, Florida, and Michigan.  Other coaches still try to recruit me for sure, but I really don’t know about it.  Me and Coach Harris, we have a system.  When I was younger I would talk to all the college coaches as much as possible you know? I told a lot of coaches that I was interested and found out their interest and started to get offers.  Then after that we started doing our research.  Then after the research was done, he wouldn’t tell me to cut off any schools or anything, he would just say to start chopping my list down, take my time, give me advice.  It was fun during my sophomore year, I got like 50 offers or something, it was crazy.  The summer leading up to my junior year, that’s when it got like really hectic and it’s been pretty hectic ever since.  That’s why I cut it down to three, it’s gotten easier and easier.

How much do you pay attention to the stuff that’s written about you?  With all the articles, blogs, Twitter, rankings, videos, etc…how much do you pay attention to it and what is the craziest thing you’ve ever seen about yourself?

Honestly this year, I don’t really care about all of that stuff.  When I was younger, like during my freshman and sophomore year it was really cool being told I was the #1 player in the nation and all that, but then during my junior year I really stopped paying attention to it because I mean everyone is good.  I mean the top 100 kids in the nation are all top-notch athletes, I really don’t see a need to rank them and they are all going to play in college.  As far as untrue stuff, all the time! (Laughs)  I don’t really say anything about it, I just let them do them.  That’s how they make their paycheck I guess, I don’t really care.  One time when I went on a visit someone wrote that the school was now my top school and that they had nothing to worry about, that I was locked.  I was like, I never said that?  That doesn’t even sound like me.  So yeah, there are always things about me that just aren’t true.

What have the Michigan coaches told you about a specific position?  Have they discussed where and how they’d like to use you on defense?

Michigan has told me that they want me at end. That’s all, they didn’t really say what side.  They like to mix it around and use different combinations.  Alabama said they want me to be a JACK kind of like Courtney Upshaw was.  Florida was like Michigan, they want me to play just the end since they’d like to mix it up a lot.

I remember watching a video interview you did where you seemed to get really excited about a certain professor at Michigan.  Tell me what was so different, unique, or special about that professor to get a reaction like that from you.

That dude was amazing! (Laughs) Goodness, gracious!  He just blew us away.  I can’t pronounce his last name, (laughs) he has like a long last name, but he just….oh my goodness!  Just the way he presented everything was amazing.  He talked about what we’re going to learn, he told us that it’s not going to be easy.  It even made my dad want to go back to school again, it was just wild, it was insane.

So as your season begins and fall is getting close, what are your plans for your official visits?

Right now I know for sure I’ll visit my top 3 schools but other than that I don’t really know. 

Your official visit for Michigan is against Notre Dame for the Under the Lights II game.  What are your expectations for the game itself?

I have never been to a game at Michigan so I just want to see how the crowd is, the whole atmosphere, how it feels on a gameday, what does the town do, you know those little things.  I also want to see how the coaches face adversity.

So you’ve got your top 3, you have a basic idea about your official visits.  What are going to be the deciding factors when you finally decide to commit?

Just my personal evaluation I guess, that’s all I can really tell you.  There are so many things that I think about and I just keep that personal you know? 

It’s been made public that you have a bit of a relationship with Jabrill Peppers, is that at all something that might factor in to your decision?

Oh, that’s my man!  He’s cool, he’s cool people.

How about your decision timeline?  Do you have an idea when you are going to commit?

Nothing has really changed.  Whenever I feel like the time is right I am going to commit.  I want to do it before December but whenever it feels right, it’s right.

Commitments these days can get pretty crazy.  How do you plan on doing it?  You seem pretty humble and don’t necessarily need the limelight, so how’s it going to go down?

I’m going to be at my school, in the auditorium or in the gym or wherever it needs to be.  I’m just going to do it the classic way.  I’m not going to have the three hats, I’m just going to have one hat and announce it, and that’s about it.


Talking with Da’Shawn was a pleasure and he’s another testament to the types of kids that Coach Hoke and staff are trying to recruit.  Not only is he immensely talented but he genuinely cares about his education and was a really pleasant kid to talk to.  He didn’t really dodge any questions which is refreshing, but he didn’t take the Jabrill question completely head-on.  He perked up about him when I asked, but he didn’t mention at all if playing with Jabrill would factor into his decision.  One thing I did notice, and I don’t know if it was a Freudian Slip or if it was nothing, but he spoke about the professor at Michigan as if he has already decided that he will be his teacher.  The fact that a non-football related experience has made that much of an impact on him has got to be a great thing.  I expect his official visit against Notre Dame to make a big impact on him and honestly wouldn’t be shocked if he thought about committing while in Ann Arbor for his first game at The Big House among that atmosphere and many other recruits and commits.

An Interview with Shane Morris

An Interview with Shane Morris

Submitted by Tim on August 9th, 2011 at 2:57 PM

Shane [in video above]: I'm Shane Morris, class of 2013. I committed to the University of Michigan. I committed to there because I felt it was just somewhere I grew up as a fan. When I was younger, it was always a dream for me to go to the University of Michigan, but I never thought I would get the honor to have the chance. So, right when I got the offer I was just ecstatic, and that's the place where I knew I wanted to go. The new coaches there are just great people. So uh, thank you.

Tim: You were at the Barbecue at the Big House about a week and a half ago. How did that go for you?

Shane: It was awesome. I mean, I got a chance to meet a lot of the players who are committed for 2012. They're great people, you know, we're going to have a great group of people there throughout Michigan. So that was really fun.

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Tim: Have you been doing a little recruiting of your own?

Shane [at right, between future teammates Terry Richardson and James Ross]: Oh yeah. Definitely, I'm just trying to get the best players out of the country to come to Michigan. On Facebook or whatever I have to do to get ahold of them.

Tim: A lot of times when guys make an early commitment, they stop going to the camps and stuff, and seem satisfied. You seem like you've been doing a lot of that sort of stuff still to prove yourself, what are your goals there?

Shane: I'm definitely going to do all I can, because I mean, I want to be the best player that I can possibly be. I'm not going to relax or take a day off just because I'm already committed. I mean, I'm not going to go to other college camps, I'm going to Michigan. I'm 100% committed there, I'm not going to check out any other schools or anything. But I'm going to keep doing all I can all during the winter and offseason to be the best I can.

Tim: Is any part of you gunning for that five-star status?

Shane: I mean, it'd be something cool to have. You know, just to know that you were a 5-star when you're in high school. But I mean really, I don't really care about that, I don't care about all of that. I've already decided where I'm going to go, and when people think of me [how good I am], they can just think about that. [SWAG]

Tim: Your De La Salle team made it to the regional finals [in the MHSAA Playoffs] last year, so what are your goals for this year, and what are you planning to do to achieve them?

Shane: Our goals are obviously to win a state championship and I feel like we did enough work in the offseason, and we've got some kids who can play for us at our school that we can do that. You know, we're just going to keep working hard every day at practice and our coaches are gonna do the best they can to get us prepared.

An Interview with Terry Richardson

An Interview with Terry Richardson

Submitted by Tim on August 6th, 2011 at 11:53 AM

A brief interview with MI CB Commit Terry Richardson at yesterday's Sound Mind Sound Body High School Media Day in Southfield. Read to the end for the THRILLING CONCLUSION, in which Terry talks about whether he'll be taking official visits to other schools.

Terry [in the video above]: I am committed to the University of Michigan. I picked there because it's at home. You know, family and friends, and a lot of close people to me, they all love Michigan. So, I thought that was the best fit, and that's why I picked them.

Tim: You've been committed to Michigan for a little while. Does being at an event like this with you future teammates Shane [Morris] and James Ross help you get a family vibe going?

Terry: Yeah, I mean, it's cool. Actually, I grew up with James, so we've been playing together for a long time. Shane, I've just kinda met him these last two years. He's a good kid, he's a real good quarterback. So basically, you know, it's a good vibe, to right now be committed to them.

Tim: Are you excited to see a lot of these talented players joining the maize and blue down the road?

Terry: Yeah yeah yeah. Actually, I want to see Michigan get back on the rise. You know like how they are supposed to be. You know, and the best way to do that is by getting the best players.

Tim: I know you've talked a little bit lately about taking visits to other schools. Is that something you're still planning on doing?

Terry: Um, that information, that's between me, my family, and the Michigan staff. I talked to them about it, so you know, right now, I really don't know [if I'm going to take other visits]. But if I do, I told the staff I would let them know, so they were OK with that.

I cut the interview short there, because it was clear Terry was annoyed about getting the same question about visits over and over again. At the very least, it seems like he and the coaches are on the same page (for now) about whether he can take visits, and what that means for his commitment status.

Shane Morris interview (in personal e-pinion, the best of the bunch) coming early next week.

An Interview With James Ross

An Interview With James Ross

Submitted by Tim on August 5th, 2011 at 3:25 PM

At Sound Mind, Sound Body Media Day today, I had the opportunity for a quick conversation with LB Commit James Ross.

James (in the video above): I'm James Ross, I committed to the University of Michigan. I committed there because that's the right fit for me, the perfect defense with Coach Greg Mattison, and I like what they're doing with the program.

Tim: You were one of Michigan's first 2012 commits. Is it exciting for you to see a bunch of talented recruits join the class since then?

James: It's actually very exciting to see all these great talents coming to Michigan. All of my close friends are coming, this is a real good experience to see all of this.

Tim: Is it exciting to see some of the guys you've known for a long time like Terry and Royce?

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James [far right, with Shane Morris and Richardson]: Yeah, it's actually pretty fun to see all that. All of us played little league together and playing in college together, it just... it was the dream from the beginning, and now to see it's happening, it's really exciting.

Tim: I know St. Mary's doesn't really have winter graduation, so I'm guessing you won't be early-enrolling, right?

James: Well, my school really doesn't allow it, so yeah.

Tim: St. Mary's has made it to the State Championship Game and not quite finished it a couple of times in recent years. What is it going to take for you guys to take the next step?

James: Well, it's been troubling me for some time now. But I think once we get in that situation again, we've just gotta go practice way harder, and just take everything way more seriously. It seems like when we got there, it's like we're happy to be there, and we're not ready to play the game. So once we get there, we gotta take it more seriously.

TIm: You've been committed for a while, has that given you a chance to put your recruiting hat on a bit?

James: I've been recruiting a lot of guys. We were down at The Opening [Nike's pre-season combine], and that's all me and Terry were doing, was recruiting. But, we were at the Big House Barbecue, and Big PeeWee [MO DT Ondre Pipkins], the big D-Tackle, that's all I was in his head the whole time. I got his number, I'm texting him, on Facebook with him. I just need some big tackles in front of me, that's all.

Thanks again to James for taking some time to talk to me. Interviews with Shane Morris and Terry Richardson coming up next week.

An Interview With Demar Dorsey

An Interview With Demar Dorsey

Submitted by TomVH on June 8th, 2010 at 11:15 PM

[Editor's note: Somehow this video featuring Dorsey's been on Youtube since March and no one noticed it. It's a profile put together by LifeSkills, an "alternative high school opportunity for at-risk and drop-out youth providing a unique academic model and a proven record of success." It's one of a few promotional videos put together by the company (another couple feature folks who aren't athletes) and should be viewed with that in mind.

Anyway:

On to Tom.]

As everyone knows, Demar Dorsey's situation with Michigan is in limbo. I was granted an interview with Demar. Since he and his family have been refusing to talk to the media I promised Demar that this interview would be a simple Q&A to leave no room for interpretation.

TOM: Do you read everything that's been in the media about you?

DEMAR: Yeah, I've seen most of the articles. The media didn't really make me upset, because I know the truth about me. It made my parents upset, because once I announced I was going to Michigan, that's when all these articles started coming out. I had to change my number, so no one could get a hold of me.

TOM: That's pretty big for a football recruit to have to go through that. What kind of affect did that have on you and your family?

DEMAR: We just got together and said don't let anything affect you, and just move on. I've been trying to do everything I can to move forward.

TOM: Have those reports affected your perception of Michigan, or its fans?

DEMAR: No, I chose Michigan for a reason, and I would love to be up there. Everybody is always telling me how much they want me up there, and that they're supporting me. My cousin, Denard [Robinson], has been telling me how much love they're showing me.

TOM: So, where are you at with Michigan?

DEMAR: Right now, I'm still signed under my letter of intent, so I can't do anything yet until I hear back from them. They told me that they don't think I can get in with admissions about two weeks ago, or a week ago, but they weren't sure. They had been checking on my grades earlier in the year, and I was on top of it. When I got home one day, my parents said that they were sending back my letter of intent. They were sending me a release form. I'm not sure what that means, or if it means I'm officially not in. I think because I signed a letter of intent, if I wanted to open up my recruitment, I would have to send that back to them. If I can't get in from the admissions, then I have to send that back. My mom said we need to do that, so we have to send it out tomorrow, and we'll go from there. I have the ACT score, and I have the core, so we're just waiting to hear what happens. I haven't heard anything from the coaches yet.

TOM: What's next from here? What do you do if you can't get in to Michigan?

DEMAR: If I can't get in, I'll re-open my recruitment. I have a couple schools that I'm thinking of, I don't want to name names yet. I'll just wait to see what happens.

An Interview with Charles Burks

An Interview with Charles Burks

Submitted by TomVH on March 13th, 2010 at 5:17 PM

Charles Burks is a defensive end from Huntington Beach, California. Burks will be making the haul from CA to Ann Arbor this weekend for Michigan's Junior Day and Night of Champions. He currently holds an offer from Stanford, but hopes that Michigan extends one his way this weekend. Here's his highlight video, and what he had to say about Michigan.

TOM: Can we read anything into this visit? It’s pretty far to come all the way from California to Michigan.

CHARLES: I’ve always been an Ohio State fan, but I’ve always liked Michigan a lot, too. My dad is a big Michigan fan. They have the most wins out of any college, which is awesome. I’m definitely interested because of all the history and all the tradition. I’m interested because of all that, but I actually want to meet the coaches and see the campus. I want to get a feel for everything, and see how it is up close. Distance doesn’t matter to me, either, at all. I want to go where I can make an impact, and enjoy playing football. I just want to go to a school that can get me a good degree.

TOM: What coach is recruiting you? What have you guys talked about so far?

CHARLES: I’ve just gotten a lot of letters, and all of them have said Coach Rodriguez. The one about the junior day came from him, too.

TOM: Where does your interest in Michigan come from, besides your Dad?

CHARLES: It comes from my dad, but also everything that Michigan has to offer football wise. Michigan will always be one of those schools that will always have a great program. They’re consistently good. The past couple seasons don’t bother me, because I know they’re on the upside. They’re rebuilding, and they’re going to be good before you know it.

TOM: What other schools have offered you, and who’s been in contact with you so far?

CHARLES:  Schools that have been in contact with me are ASU, Michigan of course, Kansas, Oregon State, and my first offer was from Stanford two weeks ago.

TOM: Are you going to any camps this summer? What other visits do you hope to make?

CHARLES: I’m going to all the major combines; the Under Armor, Rivals, and Scout. I’ll be at pretty much all of the bigger ones. As far as camps; I’ve considered Oregon State and Kansas. I might go to a couple, but I might go to the USC because they’re local.

TOM: Do you have a top list yet?

CHARLES: I’m kind of trying to feel everything out. As of right now, Stanford, Michigan, and Ohio State are the top three. If I had a top five, it would be UCLA, and Oregon State, too.

TOM: You said you were an Ohio State fan growing up. If they offer, is that it for you? Are you going to jump at it, or is it not like that?

CHARLES: My interest in MIchigan is higher right now, because I haven’t heard from Ohio State. I’m a fan of them, but I won’t just jump at an offer. I’m going to take my time, and see where I feel most comfortable. Just because I’m a fan doesn’t mean that’s the best fit for me. I went to Ohio State last year for a wrestling camp, so I want to see how Michigan is, and how I feel there. Who knows, maybe after this visit Michigan will be my leader, we’ll see.

TOM: You play defensive end right now. Do you play any other positions?

CHARLES: I play tight end, as well. I’m starting to work out at outside linebacker, too. I’m 6’1 and I weigh 230, and my 40 time is 4.6 or 4.7. Last time I ran it, I ran a 4.6.

TOM: What sets you apart from the competition? What are you going to be working on?

CHARLES: I had 14 sacks in 10 games, which is one sack shy of our school record, so I almost broke that. I broke my fibula, though, so I only played 10 games. I’m real quick off the edge. I’m going to try to work on the fundamentals a lot, too. I don’t want to get caught up with tackles, too much. I’m also going to try to adjust to my new position of linebacker.

TOM: What are you looking for out of this visit? What’s an ideal visit look like for you?

CHARLES: Just meeting the coaching staff, feeling comfortable, meeting the players, and feeling comfortable with them. I want to see how the coaching staff runs the program. Ideally, I’d love to get an offer from Michigan.